College & Workforce Readiness News in Brief

Results Rebound on GED Exam

But for fewer test-takers
By Catherine Gewertz — March 06, 2018 1 min read
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Passing rates on the GED have rebounded from a big drop after a major redesign of the high school equivalency exam in 2014, but the number of people taking it has dropped by more than half.

On the new General Educational Development exam, a passing score is 145 out of 200. In 2017, average scores were 154 for science, 153 for social studies, 152 for reading/language arts, and 150 for math.

The company chalked up the increase in passing rates to a common testing phenomenon: students getting accustomed to the new test. When new tests are introduced, scores typically drop at first and then rise after a few years.

Increased difficulty—and a higher price tag—could have been drivers behind the drop in participation, as could competition from two high school equivalency tests that made their debut as the GED was revamped. The Educational Testing Service introduced the High School Equivalency Test, and McGraw-Hill Education CTB created the Test Assessing Secondary Completion.

Different data released by the GED Testing Service suggest that GED-passers are doing well in college, a key metric, since the reason for the redesign was to produce improved college readiness.

The GED Testing Service found that 45 percent of those who passed the exam enrolled in a college certificate or degree program within three years.

Ninety percent of GED-passers who went on to college persisted there, meaning they signed up for another semester after completing the first. The college-persistence rate for those who passed the old GED test was 29 percent.

A version of this article appeared in the March 07, 2018 edition of Education Week as Results Rebound on GED


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